Royale Knight is clear of Scotswell at the last in the Borders NationalPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Royale win for Newland and Twiston-Davies
Report: Kelso, Sunday
Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National
(Handicap Chase) 5yo+, 4m
THE long journey from Worcestershire certainly paid off for the Richard Newland-trained Royale Knight, who comfortably saw out this 4m marathon trip for an easy victory under a lovely ride by Sam Twiston-Davies.
The 6-1 shot was much too good for runner-up Scotswell, who put in a super round of jumping in his attempt to make all. The favourite Imperial Vic finished third. Five of the nine completed.
Royale Knight had won at Kelso this year but had been below par on his previous two starts so was on a bit of a retrieval mission, not to mention having his stamina put to the test. However, it was only the trip that was ever going to be the issue as Twiston-Davies was sitting with a double handful throughout most of the contest.
Eyes were drawn to the bold-jumping Scotswell, and James Reveley looked to have most of them at it as he went out into the country for the final time, but certainly not Royale Knight, who loomed up to the leader's quarters as they headed for home before taking over between the last two fences. At the line it was a decisive six-length victory.
The winner could get a hike in the weights for this but he is young enough to cope with a step up in class. An obvious target later in the season could be another trip up north for the Eider at Newcastle, although he wouldn't want the ground too soft as that race can be a real test.
Newland, who trains the winner for his cousin Chris Stedman in partnership with Robert Corsan, said: "I've had this race in mind for him for some time as he's been getting outpaced over three miles and I thought that four miles would suit him. He's been a sensational horse for us as that's his seventh and biggest win."